New Electric-Shock Job Exposure Matrix

Am J Ind Med. 2012 Mar;55(3):232-40. doi: 10.1002/ajim.21027. Epub 2011 Nov 8.


Background: To evaluate a consistent association between jobs in "electric" occupations and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a comprehensive job exposure matrix (JEM) that includes electric shocks and magnetic fields (MF) is needed.

Methods: We used incident electric shocks and electrocutions from two available data sources along with expert judgment to create a JEM that was integrated into an existing MF JEM. The final JEM contained ordinal electric-shock exposure assignments for 501 job titles.

Results: Main occupational groups experiencing the electric shocks were precision production, craft, and repair occupations. Specific jobs with the highest proportion of shocks per 100,000 workers were: electrical apprentices (99.7), mechanic and repairer helpers (74.0), hoist and winch operators (63.3), and electrical power installers (52.4). Examples of job titles with low electric-shock exposures were administrative support occupations, data-key entry operators, and waiters and waitresses.

Conclusions: Combining publicly available data with an expert panel is a viable method to construct an electric-shock MF JEM. This JEM will allow an evaluation of association between electric shocks and neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electric Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Electric Injuries / etiology
  • Electricity / adverse effects
  • Expert Testimony
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Fields / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / standards*
  • Occupations / classification*
  • United States / epidemiology